CareSearch Blog: Palliative Perspectives

Carers and caring at the end of life

A guest blog post from Dr Jennifer Tieman, CareSearch Director, Discipline Palliative and Supportive Services, Flinders University

  • 16 October 2017
  • Author: Samantha
  • Number of views: 161
  • 0 Comments
Carers and caring at the end of life
In May 2014, Carers Australia published a discussion paper, Dying at home: Preferences and roles for unpaid carers. It seems fitting that during National Carers Week we recognise the contribution that carers make to people who are dying. Most people wish to be cared for and die at home with the people they love and in familiar surroundings. Remaining at home is made much more likely where there is someone, or a group of people, who is willing to provide care and support for the dying person. Family, friends, work colleagues and neighbours all have taken on a caring role.

The Role of the Occupational Therapist in Palliative Care

A guest blog post by Dr Kathrine Hammill, Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, School of Science and Health, Western Sydney University

  • 29 August 2017
  • Author: Samantha
  • Number of views: 2608
  • 0 Comments
The Role of the Occupational Therapist in Palliative Care
Occupational therapy is a health profession which enables people to participate in everyday life activities to the best of their ability despite their condition, illness progression, activity limitations or participation restrictions. In palliative care this premise does not change, as occupational therapists are skilled in enabling people to adapt to their changing ability levels, and helping people to continue living until they die, just as Dame Cicely Sanders famously quoted. However, the role that occupational therapists play is often misunderstood and under-utilised, resulting in the role being limited to discharge planning, home assessments, and equipment prescription. While these are important parts of the occupational therapy role, palliative care occupational therapists can offer so much more to their clients to enable them to keep living and remained engaged in everyday activities for as long as possible. To do this, occupational therapists follow a process which helps them to assess, intervene and evaluate their treatment plans.

The Role of Music Therapy in Addressing Anxiety in Palliative Care – Part Two

A guest blog post by Andrea Bryk, Registered Music Therapist, Peninsula Home Hospice

  • 25 August 2017
  • Author: Samantha
  • Number of views: 508
  • 0 Comments
The Role of Music Therapy in Addressing Anxiety in Palliative Care – Part Two
Whilst there seems to be numerous barriers to overcoming anxiety, palliative clients, predictably, often have a vivid imagination and astute focus. The paradox is that some of the traits that can cause suffering can be used very productively on the other end of the spectrum to create a great sense of calm and well-being. Changing the focus from imagining what the future holds to noticing comfort in the present moment and redirecting attention to a space of safety and comfort is usually the key to decreasing anxiety [1]. Music therapy interventions, specifically the use of music based relaxation programs, can provide an anxious person the opportunity to experience peace in the moment [2].
After completing an assessment session, the client usually agrees to a live music relaxation trial. At this point I have ascertained the issues, problems, patterns and needs. Generally, I have identified the purpose for relaxation (e.g. to encourage sleep, to increase energy/vitality, clarity). The length of the intervention is discussed and noted.

 

The Role of Music Therapy in Addressing Anxiety in Palliative Care – Part One

A guest blog post by Andrea Bryk, Registered Music Therapist, Peninsula Home Hospice

  • 24 August 2017
  • Author: Samantha
  • Number of views: 721
  • 0 Comments
The Role of Music Therapy in Addressing Anxiety in Palliative Care – Part One
As a registered music therapist working in palliative care, [1, 2] one of the most common referrals is to address client anxiety.  Anxiety can present itself in many forms; loss of sleep, foggy thinking, or inability to focus. Anxiety amplifies many physiological symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, and pain. Often, patients who need oxygen or have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) have a perceived risk of death that naturally increases anxiety. 

Psychologically, a client can be caught in a spiral of thinking about what lies in the future (reinforced by a schedule of medical appointments, treatment, scans, outcomes, follow-ups) and pondering questions that cannot be answered with any degree of certainty. So much focus is placed on the person's physical response to medical interventions while there is an unbalanced proportion of attention to the health of the mind. In addition, these clients can be living in an overstimulating environment or have a history of limited resilience building.
 

Dying to Know Day 2017: What if talking about death didn’t even raise an eyebrow?

A guest blog post by Holly Smith, Project Coordinator, The GroundSwell Project

  • 8 August 2017
  • Author: Samantha
  • Number of views: 434
  • 0 Comments
Dying to Know Day 2017: What if talking about death didn’t even raise an eyebrow?
August 8th is Dying to Know Day – a campaign that encourages people across the country to engage in meaningful conversation around death, dying and loss by hosting events in their local area. This is its 5th year running and it has clocked up over 403 individual events!
 
So why on earth should we talk about death?!
 
Many cultures around the world have a different approach to death. In many countries, people generally die at home surrounded by their community, it is an important time for a community to gather and support each other. Death is not a scary thing to talk about because people have seen the process over their lifetime, they are familiar with the rituals and traditions so they know exactly what to expect and how to respond.
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